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[Text: Edgar Allan Poe (?), "Subserviency to British Criticism" (A), from The Evening Mirror (New York), January 8, 1845, p. 2, col. 2.]


[page 2, column 2:]

SUBSERVIENCY TO BRITISH CRITICISM. -- An article has lately appeared in "Blackwood's Magazine" which will have at least one important effect, if only a collateral one. It will aid us "uncultivated Americans" in shaking off some very little of that awe of British critical opinion on topics of light literature, which hitherto has appeared to humble us in the dust. The paper in question is a review of the late poems of Elizabeth Barrett, and we should take it to be the work of Christopher North himself, were we not aware that he has retired upon his laurels. At all events, it has many of his peculiarities both of thought and diction. It is full to the brim, however, of merely verbal criticisms, involving a series of positive blunders and misconceptions of the author's meaning -- absurdities of which there are few American schoolboys who would not feel ashamed. We hold it as impossible that any of our critics, of equal dignity, could have perpetrated in the same space as many niaiseries.


[This item was attributed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott. Mabbott's notes at the University of Iowa mention the use of "niaiseries," a word which Mabbott considers a tell-tale mark of Poe's hand. Poe also commented several times about the unreasonable criticisms by Christopher North (the pen-name of Professor John Wilson of Blackwood's Magazine). In his Broadway Journal review of Miss Barrett's poems (January 4, 1845), Poe notes the review in Blackwood's, complaining, "and this is the criticism -- the British criticism -- the Blackwood criticism -- to which we have so long implicitly bowed down!"]

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[S:0 - EM, 1845]